SOUL-SEARCHING QUESTIONS FOR PLEASING GOD WELL – PART 3A
Welcome back, friends. We continue with Soul-Searching Questions for Pleasing God Well. There are three questions we’ve been considering; and these are: Where are You, directed to Adam, in Genesis 3:9; Where is Abel your brother, directed to Cain, in Genesis 4:9; and the third one is, What is that in your hand, directed to Moses, in Exodus 4:2.
That’s the one we want to discuss today.
Exodus 4: Let’s read from verse 1.
Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’”
2 So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
He said, “A rod.”
3 And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), 5 “that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”
What is that in your hand?
Father, as we search the scriptures again, now, we pray for insight. We pray, dear Lord, that You would breathe upon Your Word, and it may come alive to all my friends in radioland…in Jesus’ Name. Amen
We’ve examined the first two questions; and we said that the first one, Where are you, deals with vertical relationship, and that is, intimate relationship we have with God. And the second one, Where is Abel your brother, deals with horizontal relationship, the relationship we have with one another or with our fellow human beings.
We’ve already established that God asks questions, not because He is looking for information He does not have or could not have, for He is an omniscient God. He asks questions for man’s self-disclosure, to expose man to Himself. He asks questions for man’s self-examination.
We come now to the third question: What is that in Your Hand?
This question is about service and instrument or instruments of service. And it is related to the first two, in the sense that God, in serving Him – when we serve God we find that this is a product of our relationship first with Him, and our relationship with our fellow men. Serving God: remember we said that this third question, what is that in your hand, is about service. Serving God is a product of healthy vertical and horizontal relationship: relationship with God on the one hand, and man on the other. Whoever would serve God well must first deal with God on behalf of men. And secondly, deal with men on behalf of God, using whatever God finds in his hands, whatever God puts in his or her hands. When I say, dealing with God on behalf of men, what that means is, for you to serve men, you first of all spend time with God, and then that time you are spending with God you are dealing with God on behalf of men. And that’s what happens when we pray, except when your prayer is so selfish. But that is not what prayer should be. When we go to pray, we are dealing with God on behalf of men. And then when God sends you to speak to people concerning Christ or to help people who are in need, at that point you are dealing with men on behalf of God. I hope I have explained what I mean by dealing with God on behalf of men and dealing with men on behalf of God.
Now let’s go back to Moses. Moses first dealt with God on behalf of Israel; and you find that in Exodus 3. In Exodus 3, God met Moses by the Mount of Horeb, where he was feeding…Jethro – his father-in-law’s sheep. In that Exodus 3 verse 1,
1Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
4 So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
In the interest of time, let me drop down to verse 10.
God said to Moses,
10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
Moses first dealt with God, on behalf of Israel, on Mount Horeb. We see two things in this dealing with – God on behalf of Israel. First, God got the attention of Moses. We just saw that now in Exodus 3:1-4.
Secondly, God revealed Himself to Moses. He revealed His character; He revealed His power to Moses. We’d see that shortly. How did God get the attention of Moses? Before I tell you what that means, let us observe that God first of all will get the attention of anyone He would want to use. Anyone who would serve Him, God first of all gets his attention.
When He sent a message through young Samuel, in the temple to Eli, God got his attention; first of all, before he delivered the message to Him. When He sent Peter to the house or Cornelius: a Gentile, something that a Jew would never do, God knew it was a difficult task. Something very new, very strange, to the Jews. So He got the attention of Peter when He said, bringing down that sheet from heaven and said to Peter, arise, kill and eat. And he said, never, never in my life have I done a thing like that. He got his attention and He said to Him, what God has cleansed, you should not call common.
So He got the attention of Moses. How? He got his attention by appealing to his curiosity. Let me also observe that with some people, God gets the attention through pain. Some of us would not want to listen to God. And God gets the attention of such people through pain. And that is out of love. For example, in Psalm 119, in verse 67,
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.
Before I was afflicted I went astray. He went astray. He would not listen to God. And God, to get his attention, gave him some affliction.
The curiosity of Moses
Look at Exodus 3:3-4
3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
4 So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look [when the Lord say that He that gotten His attention], God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”
Then God revealed Himself to Moses. He revealed His character and His power.
In verse 5 of that text, Exodus 3:5,
5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”
He revealed Himself to Moses as a Holy God. Holy ground! The ground is not holy. The ground cannot be holy. The only reason that ground was holy was because of the presence of the Holy God. What God was trying to say to Moses: you are dealing with a Holy God. And for anybody to serve God, for anybody to deal with God, one of the first things God will make sure is that you get is His holiness, because, without holiness, nobody can see God, nobody can serve God. His holiness!
Then His faithfulness
Then In verse 6,
6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.
What was God implying when He said, I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? He was saying to Moses, you are dealing not only with a Holy God, you are also dealing with a covenant-keeping God: a faithful God. Just as I promised your forefathers Abraham Isaac and Jacob that I will give them that land, so I am going to make sure that that is done.
So that is the faithfulness of God. God manifested Himself to Moses as a Holy God, as a Faithful God. God also manifested His power to Moses, in the miracle of the burning bush, the bush that was on fire but was not burnt. That’s the miracle of God. And I guess that is also symbolic of Israel that was on fire as it were in Egypt for more than 400 years. And the more Egypt tried to, as it were, set them on fire, the more they prospered. They were not consumed.
So that was the miracle, the burning bush that was not burned. The miracle of the rod that became a serpent and turned back into a rod, the miracle of Moses’ hand that became leprous in a twinkling of an eye and became clean again. God was trying to demonstrate to Moses that He was a powerful God.
Before we conclude let me make this observation:
The knowledge of God’s holiness helps mold the character of those who would serve Him. When you know of the holiness of God it molds your character. And the knowledge of God’s faithfulness and God’s power help to build the confidence of those who would serve Him. These two things are very important, and that is how God started in dealing with Moses.
We will continue from here when we return next time.
Let us pray.
Our Father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the faithful God, the God who keeps covenant, You are still faithful till today. Your faithfulness in sending Jesus Christ to us, Your faithfulness to all who receive Jesus; You keep them to the end. Father, as many as hear my voice now, in radioland, who have not yet known Jesus, it is my prayer that You bring conviction and conversion, demonstrating Your power to save from sin…in the Name of Jesus Christ; not only Your power to save from sin, but also Your power to deliver from bondage: either of sinful habit, sickness or disease; You are still doing these miracles today. May it be so for my friend in radioland….in Jesus Name. Amen!